Early summer 1970, the three chiefs of Military Sealift Command Transport Unit One invited their officers to have Sunday brunch with them at the Chiefs Club at the U.S. Fleet Activities, Sasebo, Japan.
When we arrived, we took the only available table for eight near the front of the large dining room, where they had set up a very large motion picture screen. The chiefs club was known for its ramen, and that is what we all ordered, along with Kirin beer, of course. The Japanese waitress cracked the raw egg on our bowls of ramen, and it cooked in the broth. Kirin was true to its slogan, “Ichiban.”
It seemed every chief stationed in Sasebo had brought his entire family to the brunch event. There were a large contingent of Japanese dependents and children all over the place. The huge dining room probably set well over 100, and the place was buzzing in English, Japanese, and the Navy mix of the two languages.
Then all became quiet as dining room lights dimmed and those on the screen flickered, signaling the movie was about to begin.
The five officers, the commanding officer, the two lieutenant doctors, the chaplain, and myself as the executive officer, were unaware a movie was in the offing when we agreed to the brunch. None of us and possibly everyone in the dining room, if not all, had seen the movie, released in the US in late 1968.
The very Italian dramatic music score began to play. The three main characters were introduced one by one with the dramatic, slow…er, drawn out introduction. Eli Wallach’s “Tuco” opens it up by killing three bounty hunters and “The Ugly” flashes across the screen. Our table chuckled (Well, we all had downed two beers by then). Then, “Angel Eyes” Lee Van Cleef unmercifully murders a guy and Angel Eyes’ closeup is emblazoned with “The Bad.” Our table en masse was now laughing hysterically. Finally, Clint Eastwood’s “Blondie” shoots apart the rope with the noose around “Tuco’s” neck to split the bounty on “Tuco,” and “The Good” is declared. We all lost it.
We were rolling on the floor, pounding on the table, hysterical, howling in glee.
Managers come over and inform us we are disturbing the other good folks in the room, and if we didn’t quiet down, we would be asked to leave.
We quieted down, but i still laugh every time i watch the opening scene, the middle, the closing scene, and pretty much everything in between. i like the movie in an amusing sort of way.
Yesterday, Friday not the 13th, had its share of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
That will be posted here later.